The long-awaited definition of “meaningful use” for electronic health records may soon become official as the Department of Health and Human Services sent a copy of the final rule on Monday to the Office of Management and Budget.
Since the Office of the National Coordinator issued a certification program for EHRs, health care providers have been attempting to follow an allusive set of guidelines that qualify their use of the new technologies under the requisites of meaningful use.
The certification deems the health care providers eligible for federal funding as long as they fall under the meaningful use requirements, a set regulatory metrics established under the The Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act that was passed in 2009.
However, providers have found it difficult to follow the guidelines due to the fact that they were not officially established and remained indefinite, according to a recent survey of 120 CIOs and health IT executives. One of the main obstacles holding providers back from fully implementing EHRs was their confusion of what constitutes meaningful use.
Now that the OMB is reviewing the standards, implementation and certification criteria, health care providers will be able to clearly see how they can demonstrate meaningful use of EHRs to qualify for federal incentive payments. Requesting OMB approval is typically the last step before rules are published in the Federal Register.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services expects that the rules will be available sometime this summer.